1952 US Navy Training Film: Introduction to Rotary Wing Flight

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to fly a chopper, this 1952 US Navy Training Film will do an excellent job of getting you started – it’s surprisingly detailed, and it starts out all the way back in the time of Leonardo da Vinci, then follows major iterations in design until 1952.

This film was used to train helicopter pilots and crews from 1952 throughout the 1950s, including the latter part of the Korean War. It explains the basic aerodynamics involved, and then moves through all of the major controls used (in most helicopters).

Although you probably won’t want to go climb into a chopper and fly it singlehandedly with just this film as your syllabus, you will pick up a significant amount of knowledge by the end of it, giving you the same basic foundation as US Navy chopper pilots in the 1950s.

The helicopter used in most of the demonstrations is the Bell Model 47, it had been introduced just 6 years earlier, and it saw significant use during the Korean Conflict. The Bell Model 47 would stay in production from 1946 till 1974, and it was produced under license in Japan, Italy, and Britain.